Summary: Message 35 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This message is the second of 6 messages exploring the nature and practice of God's love.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Impossible Love” Part Two


Our current stop in our exploration of Paul’s letter to the believers meeting in Corinth written a couple thousand years ago deals with love. 1 Corinthians 13 has been dubbed the “love” chapter. Here Paul does not really define love but describes how genuine love acts in real life. Love is a general term that embodies everything that is positive about a relationship with another human.

I. Terms of Endearment

Feeling Love (eros) – celebration love

Describes a relationship based on the pleasure of closeness and sexual stimulation.

Family Love (storge) – community love

Describes a relationship based on a sense of loyalty and togetherness

Friendship Love (philos) – companionship love

Describes a relationship based on a sense of friendship and comradeship.

Foundational Love (agape) – covenant or commitment love

Describes a relationship based on personal commitment to unconditionally care

A strong marriage cultivates all four of these aspects of love. Strong relationships outside of marriage cultivate the bottom three aspects although non-sexual touch holds an important place in relationships. Covenant love serves as the foundation block to all the other aspects of love. It is the only aspect that does not depend on a response from the one being loved. It functions solely on the committed love of the one loving. It is not dependent on feeling or sense of family or even a sense of companionship. It describes a decision to care for and pursue relationship with the other person no matter what based on a God-given passion to care.

II. A better way to go

1. Inadequate love

a) Conditions

If I have supernatural…

Ability to speak more eloquently than any person and even if I speak with the heavenly language of angels…

Prophecy and have the ability to interpret all the mysteries of life…

Knowledge to understand and explain how everything works…

Faith so as to transfer Mount Rainer to another State

If I give…

All my possessions to feed the poor

My body to be sacrificed on behalf of others


do not continually demonstrate, have, possess, or desire to truly care and connect with people

b) Conclusions

My abilities and actions become only an irritating sound to the people who listen.

I become of no eternal significance. (I am nothing)

I personally gain nothing in terms of eternal value or reward.

Love describes the interaction and connection with people. Without meaningful interaction with people, there cannot be genuine love. Love has to do with a passion to meaningful connect and related to people of all kinds. God’s foundational love finds its energy from inner divinely transformed character and God inspired passion energized by the indwelling Spirit of love. It is a genuine desire to be involved in the life of someone else. Any inability to genuinely respond in love to others says more about me and my character than about the deficiencies or inadequacies that may be found in others. If this love is a decision and passion that emanates from our inner core and has little to do with the character others, then failure to love is a melt down or disconnect between me and God. In fact Scripture indicates we do not truly love God if we don’t love those He created.

Biblical love is a divinely motivated decision to persistently pursue meaningful connection with God and others based on a God-given inner desire and evidenced by selfless care and sacrificial service that significantly touches or impacts the one being loved.

2. Humanly impossible love from 1 Corinthians 13

Most of the portraits and descriptions of love focus on deeds that develop and demonstrate meaningful relationship with others.

a) Love is long-tempered not short tempered

This word is made up of two Greek words. macro (long) thumia (hot flashing anger, passion or temper)

Love at its core constantly longs for restored community. Nothing disrupts meaningful community like flesh driven flashy anger. The manifestation of genuine love for meaningful relationship is stronger than the selfish desire of the flesh to retaliate or react. Love’s desire to impact people for the good serves as a control over my actions and responses. Because of love I develop and demonstrate long anger, long-suffering. I intentionally squelch the flesh’s natural desire to react or respond with body language or verbal tone or physical actions that communicate a self-centered focus rather than an others-centered focus. James taught that conflict is always the result of a selfish agenda. Jealousy and selfish ambition. How quick are we to respond to the things others do that hurt or annoy us? It is because we don’t really love. We are more interested in personal issues than relational health. Genuine love delays the angry reaction or response in order to restore, preserve or deepen the relationship. Love avoids anything that might hinder or harm relationships.

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